A wildfire danger rating map from August 2018 showed Haida Gwaii at extreme risk. (Coastal Fire Centre/)

Planning for future Haida Gwaii wildfires catches on

Masset and Port Clements will join Sandspit, Skidegate, Queen Charlotte in seeking funds for a community wildfire plan.

On the heels of another record-setting wildfire season in mainland B.C., Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s forests minster, recently announced a $50-million, three-year program to help local governments and First Nations reduce their wildfire risk.

As a first step, elected leaders on Haida Gwaii are looking at a provincial grant of up to $25,000 that can be used to hire professional wildfire protection consultants. If every islands community signs on, it may be less costly to do.

“It is probably something we need to start thinking about,” said Trevor Jarvis, chief administrative officer for Masset, speaking at a Nov. 26 council meeting.

“Over the years it hasn’t been an issue,” Jarvis added. “But just from my own experience doing fireworks — I’ve actually had to postpone them because we’ve had fire bans the last couple years.”

Related: November news from the NCRD

Masset council unanimously approved a motion to apply for the grant.

Councillor Bret Johnston recalled what happened when a rare Haida Gwaii wildfire burned near Juskatla some 30 years ago.

“We had nothing to fight it with,” he said. “We flew in bushfire-fighting equipment from Edmonton.”



andrew.hudson@haidagwaiiobserver.com

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